Gowanus, a scrappy Brooklyn neighborhood centered on the mile-plus-long canal that gives it its name and identity, has long been associated with industry, including coal manufacturing, tanneries, oil refining and even coffin making. But over the past decade or so, this low-lying area, sandwiched between tony Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, has transformed itself into a byword for green business, small-scale production and, ultimately, conversion itself, packing artists, metalworkers and forgotten-skill crafters into its reclaimed warehouses and attracting new galleries, cafés and nightlife. There's still an industrial, occasionally lonely feel to some of the blocks, but in that too you can find some desolate beauty and rusticity, especially close to the water locals wryly refer to as "Lavender Lake." Read on for some of our favorite neighborhood spots.
Where it is:
Hoyt Street to Fourth Avenue, Douglass Street to 15th Street
How to get there:
For the most evocative entry, disembark from the F, G at Smith/9th Sts.; you can also take the R to Union St. or the F, G, R to 4th Ave./9th St.